[WEC] Thoughts about land use
rzako at efn.org
Sun Feb 1 12:55:28 PST 2009
Dear WEC friends,
We have noted several times that our draft report is a bit thin on
land use issues, and have planned to discuss these issues for some
time. At this late date, I am not quite sure if or how we might do so,
but I wanted to offer some food for thought here.
We have two integrated clusters specifically related to land use that
offer general guidance:
Intensify development appropriately: Land use designations in the
focus area should reflect which areas cannot be developed at all and
which areas can be developed at a higher density than their current
Relocate some land uses: Some land uses in the focus area may no
longer be appropriate and should make way for other land uses. A
relocation strategy would make this possible.
At the end of our 2-day designstorming meeting almost a year ago,
Chris asserted that they key to the whole west Eugene area is the
industrial "critical trapezoid" bounded roughly by West 11th,
Beltline, Roosevelt and Highway 99/Garfield. Rick has identified this
"critical trapezoid" as containing many properties with low
improvement values compared to land values. A key question is if and
how this area might redevelop in the coming decades.
The Land Use Subcommittee of the Analysis Committee drafted a memo
that, among other things, proposed applying an overlay zone to the
"critical trapezoid" modeled after the Southwest Whiteaker Special
Zone. This overlay zone allows for flexible development, and would
allow the market to convert the area to mixed-use over time, if that
made economic sense.
Of course, if the "critical trapezoid" were to redevelop over time to
have fewer industrial uses and more commercial and residential uses,
Jack and others would want to know what other parts of Eugene could
accommodate more industrial uses.
And the idea of increasing the intensity of development in the
"critical trapezoid" (vaguely similar to the redevelopment of the
Pearl District in Portland) raising the question of the transportation
infrastructure needed to support more intense uses. Unfortunately, the
"critical trapezoid" currently lacks adequate east-west through
streets, aside from Roosevelt, West 5th, 7th Place and 11th. A long-
term redevelopment plan would need to be tied, I think, to a plan to
reclaim right-of-way over time.
More broadly, aside from talking about more intense mixed-use
development along a multiway boulevard, especially closer in to
downtown, we as a group have not really agreed to what kinds of
development patterns we would like to see. To overly simplify the
choices, one could divide our area of interest into six zones:
Along West 11th
"Critical Trapezoid" east of Beltline and north of West 11th
Residential areas and east of Beltline south of West 11th
Upland and other areas west of Beltline and south of West 11th
Wetland and other areas west of Beltline and north of West 11th
Veneta and other areas west of Eugene
Each of these different zones raise questions, which we might or might
not want to address. For example, the question about the Royal Avenue
node relates to the larger northwest zone #5. Questions about the
housing/jobs balance and commuter traffic related to the western zone
As we have pretty much run out of time, and as our report is more
intended to present transportation solutions than a land use vision,
we might want to partially punt on these important questions: not
offer our consensus answers but rather simply highlight the important
questions and how they relate to transportation and the environment.
All this said, I'd be very interested to hear thoughts from especially
Larry and Rick about land use issues.
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